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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Writing Tip Wednesday--Fragments

If you look up "fragment" in the dictionary, you find that it's a part that's broken off, detached, or incomplete. In grammar, a fragment is a part of a sentence. It's incomplete. Remember--a complete sentence must have a subject and a verb.

People tend to talk in fragments rather than complete sentences. Fragments can and should be used to write realistic dialogue.

Example:
"Where are you going?"
"To the library." (fragment)
"This late?" (fragment)
"It's open all night during finals week."

The use of fragments in narrative is a gray area. Some editors/agents/publishers don't allow fragments. Some do, if used sparingly and effectively. Others consider fragments part of an author's writing style. If you use fragments, be sure to reread to check flow and clarity. Avoid overuse!

Example:
Callum followed Jane's trail of dried peas into the forest, his heart in his throat as he strained to hear the crack of a brittle twig and the crunch of a dried leaf. She couldn't have gotten too far ahead of him. She'd also have to depend on him to find her way back again since he'd picked up her trail markers. Every last one of them.

Can you spot the fragment?

I've used it at the end of the paragraph for emphasis. Rather than using a fragment, I could've put an em-dash or a comma between "markers" and "every." Both would set that section of the sentence apart, giving it a similar effect.

To use fragments, or not to use fragments? That's a question you'll have to answer yourself.

Next week, I'll be posting about Repeat Words!

Back to writing! I'm getting close to "The End" on Love Served Hot!!!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

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